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Cloud Expo: Article

Cloud Leadership to the Next Level

Process automation and reuse in utility computing

Some Cloud leaders have declared victory by leveraging the Cloud for infrastructure or software services and using the utility based, on demand capabilities. However, leaders can explore and realize higher levels of reuse and sharing by identifying specific processes that can be transitioned to the Cloud. Moving entire processes into the Cloud is a higher level of abstraction and will have a tremendous impact on the management and utilization of technology services. Planning and execution for the Cloud should assess and transition such processes to realize the benefits of rapid provisioning, dynamic scaling and deployment.

Dynamic shared processes for the Cloud have to be designed at a higher level by the vendors and they have to be customizable so that multiple consumers can leverage them. Such processes in the cloud are a conglomeration of building blocks that consist of specific services that can be sequenced. The consumer does not have to provision systems or servers and hence the ability to deploy full processes; not just software, infrastructure or platforms can lead to significant cost savings and reduce long term total cost of ownership. Specialized processes that need to be transitioned to the Cloud are good candidates for this transition, examples are back end processes, reporting, authentication etc. Due to the utility based aspect of the Cloud, these processes can be adjusted as needed, based on on-going monitoring and can support rapid deployments.

One of the Cloud reporting services we leveraged a while back had good capabilities of accessing and presenting data from multiple sources and connecting to applications. In addition, it had workflows and services that could be linked together to come up with the final solution. The ability to get this solution up and running in a matter of weeks rather than months was a huge success for the organization. The key to my success while leading these initiatives as part of planning was to identify the reporting process as a migration candidate. Execution involved automating relevant processes and leveraging a solution that was open from an architecture perspective, easily customizable and had integration connectors that plugged in seamlessly with applications.

Many organizations have been moving cautiously to transition processes to the Cloud, however the new trend is catching on. For moving processes into the Cloud, there has to be continued focus on process modeling such as specifying the use cases, defining workflows to build the solution, identifying opportunities to improve, automate existing processes and regular monitoring. Execution of the processes should support standards such as Business Process Management Notation (BPMN) and Business Process Execution Language (BPEL). One challenge is to have these Cloud processes connect with existing applications such as legacy systems and to have the capability of effective utilization based on customization of the boiler plate process. Another challenge is the “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mindset, if there are existing solutions that meet the requirements, there may be resistance to change.

Repeatable Cloud processes can be leveraged as shared processes across organizations and government agencies resulting in significant reuse and cost savings. This can have a tremendous impact from a business perspective. Cloud supports the process automation and transition of such processes into utility based environments and this can result in high levels of sharing and reuse. Implementing initiatives for process automation and process reuse is part of taking Cloud leadership to the next level. (This has been extracted from and is reference to Ajay Budhraja's blog)

More Stories By Ajay Budhraja

Ajay Budhraja has over 23 years in Information Technology with experience in areas such as Executive leadership, management, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, system architecture, software engineering, training, methodologies, networks, and databases. He has provided Senior Executive leadership for nationwide and global programs and has implemented integrated Enterprise Information Technology solutions.

Ajay has a Masters in Engineering (Computer Science), and a Masters in Management and Bachelors in Engineering. He is a Project Management Professional certified by the PMI and is also CICM, CSM, ECM (AIIM) Master, SOA, RUP, SEI-CMMI, ITIL-F, Security + certified.

Ajay has led large-scale projects for big organizations and has extensive IT experience related to telecom, business, manufacturing, airlines, finance and government. He has delivered internet based technology solutions and strategies for e-business platforms, portals, mobile e-business, collaboration and content management. He has worked extensively in the areas of application development, infrastructure development, networks, security and has contributed significantly in the areas of Enterprise and Business Transformation, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Technology innovation, Performance management, Agile management and development, Service Oriented Architecture, Cloud.

Ajay has been leading organizations as Senior Executive, he is the Co-Chair for the Federal SOA COP and has served as President DOL-APAC, AEA-DC, Co-Chair Executive Forum Federal Executive Institute SES Program. As Adjunct Faculty, he has taught courses for several universities. He has received many awards, authored articles and presented papers at worldwide conferences.